Sydun & Co Solicitors

Estate Planning Preparation – A Complete Guide!

Estate Planning Preparation

What’s common between Bob Marley, Sonny” Bono, Steve McNair, Amy Winehouse, Abraham Lincoln, and Pablo Picasso? They are famous. However, there is another common thing between them: They died without any legal Will, highlighting the need for estate planning.

By not preparing an estate plan, these public figures and celebrities complicated the task of settling the estate inheritance among their survivors.

While your property distribution may not be as large or complicated as these celebrated figures, it’s still crucial to have an estate plan before death.

The best way to avoid complications and conflicts is to hire reputed wills and estate lawyers for estate planning preparation.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a process where you plan what you want to do with your assets, liabilities, and financial affairs before and after you pass away. Estate planning is also important for keeping a backup plan for continuing and preserving the use of assets if you lose the capacity to make sound decisions due to any mental illness or accident.

A report published by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) outlined that nearly 50% of Australians do not have a legal will. Even many individuals having a valid will, don’t have a comprehensive estate plan.

Many individuals mistake creating a will for estate planning. Estate planning is a broad aspect, and a Will is a part of it.

Planning your estate includes considering your assets, whether they are legally owned by you or held by a different legal entity such as a company family trust on an SMSF, these matters need to be front of mind and dealt with before you create your Will. Building a testamentary trust, choosing an executor, selecting a power of guardianship, handling funeral arrangements, and more. For an estate plan to be legally valid, you need to be aged 18 or older and considered mentally competent.

Sounds complicated? The best law firms Australia have your back. Hire a qualified lawyer to make estate planning easy.

Create an Inventory of Physical Assets

To start with the estate planning quest, go through the inside and outside of your house and enlist all your valuable items.

The physical items can include but are not limited to

  • The house itself, 
  • Any other properties present in different locations,
  • Valuable electronics such as television sets, laptops, smart devices, etc.
  • Antiques and collectibles
  • Jewellery
  • Power Tools
  • Lawn equipment
  • Vehicles

This list will be more beneficial and a great deal breaker than expected. You may keep adding notes if you want someone from your family or loved ones to inherit particular items after your death.

Confused about which physical properties you should include and which you shouldn’t? Connect with a professional property lawyer Sydney to streamline the process.

Next In Line Are the Non-Physical Assets.

Once you are finished with the physical assets, it’s time to start end listing your non-physical properties. Non-physical properties include items having financial worth that you want on paper.

These items include:

  • Bonds, stocks, and shares
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Trust funds
  • Life insurance policies and other long-term care policies
  • Insurances including homeowner, disability, health, and car insurance
  • A business, company, or family trust
  • An SMSF

Include account numbers, folio numbers, and other unique identification numbers for the non-tangible assets. If you have any physical documents, mention the location of the same.

Another vital thing is that you identify the contact information for each non-physical possession.

A qualified business lawyer can help you manage your physical and non-tangible property without disputes and complexities.

Assemble the Debts in a Single List

Once you have made a list of the properties you own, it’s time to make a separate list for any debts you may have.

This includes but is not limited to the following items:

  • Car and home loans,
  • Mortgages,
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs),
  • Credit card debts
  • Regular accounts, rates, and utilities.

Again, don’t forget to include the account numbers, location of signed physical agreements, details of the credit cards and the location of their storage, and the contact information of the firms holding the debt. Don’t skip credit cards that you have never used in your life.

Hire wills and estate lawyer to draft a detailed will outlining all your assets and debts.

Create a Membership Catalogue

If you belong to any organisation or community, such as a professional accreditation association, a college alumni group, a senior citizen welfare association, a veteran’s association, etc., make a list of them.

Sometimes, these organisations or communities may have accidental life insurance benefits for their members. Your beneficiaries might be eligible to collect the financial aid upon accidental death.

In this catalogue, don’t forget to add the charitable institutions or funds your support and wish to continue donating in your memory. Hire a business lawyer to help ensure your wish is honoured after death.

Choose Your Beneficiaries

After identifying, listing, and recording your assets, it’s time to determine your estate’s beneficiaries. The court will typically start with your next of kin, following a statutory order of next of kin.

Make A Legally Valid Will.

Irrespective of where you are in life, it would be greatly beneficial if you took the time to write a Will. It does not just protect your wishes, but it protects your loved ones. Property inheritance legal battles can get hideous. A Will is a simple way to prevent it.

The best law firms Australia can help you create a will that’ll be legally valid and free from loopholes. Loopholes can create complex situations for your beneficiaries, such as tax burdens, disputes, etc.

Wrapping Up

Drafting and updating a will and making it legally valid is critical. Update your Will if there are any significant changes to your assets to your beneficiaries or executors. Consult an estate and property lawyer Sydney to prepare a watertight and legally correct will.

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